A consciousness perspective
The expansion of awareness in leadership within organizations directly influences the development of organizations. This expands from the level of an individual to groups and systems and is visible in the relationships and behavior.
This can be enabled by facilitated group learning by continuous conscious practice of reflection, action and silence.
This article shares the experience and learnings from the practice of conscious group learning and its impact on leaders and organizations in education, business and social service.
Organization, development, learning and leadership, consciousness
The context and challenges in org development
Organizations are group(s) of people who work together for a common purpose. The identity, structure and processes within which people work together form the organization. The leadership of people forms and shapes the organization.
In the early stages of an organization, leaders who form them are able to align people and practices to the intended purpose through their personal example and attention. As organizations grow structure and Processes (or practices) are the means by which work gets distributed and done.
It requires conscious learning and leadership of its people ( individually and collectively) for the organization to develop itself. Structures and processes by themselves are not the organization and its purpose.
Org development is through the learning of its people – individually and collectively. Conscious learning organizations are developing organizations. Till they retain this collective ability to consciously learn they will develop and grow. Else structure and processes become rigid and with its positional leaders exercising control through compliance, most people move towards mechanically doing work.
The organization’s stated purpose and actual practice will not align in the lived experience of most of its people and stakeholders. Most large organizations – governments, educational institutions, political parties, businesses, religious institutions or non-profits- face this challenge.
The practice of conscious learning in small groups, when facilitated by an aware leader, addresses this challenge.
Small groups are the structure, facilitated group learning is the process and conscious leaders as a facilitator are the three inter-related dimensions of org development.
These learnings have emerged through the practice of facilitation with over 50 leaders in business and over 1000 educational leaders in schools.
Org development as an emergence
The awareness of an organization is perceived at the individual and collective level. It’s effect is perceived in the relationships and the collective action that emanates from it.
People meeting in small groups enables them to pay attention to each other, understand each other and learn from each other. Learning is facilitated as a practice of reflection, action and silence in these groups. Over time, this becomes a non-judgemental space where authenticity, trust and vulnerability become present.
The awareness of the facilitator is key to group learning and is experienced in the quality of listening and questions.
In such groups, people experience the inter-relatedness and oneness with each other and the larger context in which they operate. Oneness of purpose, acceptance of differences and collective action becomes a lived experience.
That is the development of a conscious organization.